Saturday, May 25, 2013

Good year for horses, bad year for blogging

This year is flying by--so fast and so full of fantastic experiences with the vastly different horse personalities in my life that the documentation side of this likely life-long project has come to a screeching halt.

I see you with those other horses. Don't think I don't.
Yep. I think we can safely--possibly officially--say horses will be an ongoing work-in-progress for me.

Today--after a brief but slightly terrifying stint of shopping--I got to play with both of my own horses, which was quite a treat. We just took them to the round pen, but Lena Rey showed just how fast and balanced she can be in a tight circle. Both ways. Round and round she went until she began to relax and stretch down, which was the goal. Well, the goal for me anyway. Lena wanted to go for a nice trail ride on the beach but holiday weekends on the coast are not great for feeling safe when pulling a horse trailer. Vacationing hordes do not make for stress-free hauling. Trust me.

Then on to Bar, who walked up to me and practically shoved his face into his halter. "Finally you're going to play with ME! Yay!"

He's really not neglected, he just thinks he is.

He started out relaxed and got even more relaxed, dropping his head into a perfect perpendicular and licking and chewing through all three gaits. What he really wanted was to do some more jumping like we did the other night but sadly there were chores at home to do and one of us is new at her job and has to work Sunday and Monday. Bah. It would be much worse if I didn't love my job. Of course, winning the lottery would not be so bad, either.

But until then, I balance all my equine friends as best I can--trying to be sure everyone gets at least a little of my attention.

The blog, on the other hand, needs some TLC. And soon. I just have to find a teensy bit more time in the day. Week. Month?

Eh, it will happen. Eventually. Right?

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Back to the basics with a bit of a twist

I have not been riding as consistently as Calabar and I need and riding sporadically--in addition to not reinforcing the things we need to work on--always brings out my aches and pains.

Eating and no riding makes Bar a muddy, chubby horse
I have a twist. My pelvis rotates up and to the right, seemingly of its own accord. Old injury, habitual muscular-skeletal protection, new injuries--all of it combine to torque my spine in new and interesting ways. Ways that my horse in all his glorious and sensitive nature notices with varying degrees of response depending on his mood and level of patience.  Ways that reinforce the problems in both horse and rider and can lead to less productive riding and--more importantly--less fun.

This is not an excuse, merely an observation of the facts as we now know them. Working in a chiropractic office offers new opportunities to both observe and maybe even begin to correct (as best we can) my own confirmational faults and in doing so, be a better rider and maybe even help make my horse a more balanced horse.

My chiropractor-in-chief gave me a chapter to read that illustrates common equestrian chiropractic complaints. Lo and behold, many of them sounded extremely familiar. "Oh, that explains the bruise I get there sometimes," and "Hm, that is something that hurts all the time." Several of the illustrations in the article were from a book I own and had not opened in awhile--Centered Riding by Sally Swift.

Oh, how two worlds can sometimes collide in very good ways.

So I gave my chiropractor that book (he has several equestrian clients) and then started practicing on Calabar. My horse was amazed at my more evenly balanced seat bones and I had his full attention while I sent my legs to the ground like roots and imagined a ball in my pelvis. Ears on me the whole time. "So nice you're breathing," he said. "And really nice you're not as hiked up off my spine on the left side. Let's just keep this up, shall we?"

Then, just to add fuel to this fire, I had an adjustment that specifically targeted that twist of mine as well as an extremely inflexible--in the entirely wrong way--left ankle. It appears that dropping the heel as is prescribed is a bit of a chore on that side.

"Oh ho!" said Calabar, "You've been doing something!"

Add to this a (new/used) saddle wide enough for his broad shoulders and suddenly I have a horse with movement that is much more free and loose, movement I'm working hard to mimic as we loosen up his corkscrewed rider.

This horse of mine has taught me many things, sometimes in rather painful ways, but his willingness to participate as I learn to balance us out means we've done a few of those things right along the way.

The smooth canter he gave me--from a walk--with upright, happy ears says so, too.

We have a ways to go, Calabar and me, but the journey is the best part. Especially with happy ears.